In the passage of the good shepherd, the maternal view of love and intimacy that Jesus showcases is integral in our understanding of a strong faith with the lord.
As Jesus repeats the sentiment of ‘laying one’s life down for his sheep,’ we are reminded of the loyalty he upholds for all those who follow him. Regarding his life as equal to the sheep he watches over, Jesus knows his flock, just as they know him.
In the reading Jesus importantly speaks of inviting sheep in that may not be in his pen; so that they might hear his voice and there may be one flock.
Just as Jesus is a leader of his flock, for the sheep among us that know their shepherd and know that their shepherd knows them, we have the chance to be leaders for those currently not in Jesus’ pen. By humbly modelling our faith we might allow others that may be trying to live a Christian life to hear the words of the good shepherd and not the howling of the wolf.
At times, we all may find ourselves hearing the howling of the wolf, pulling us from the comfort and trust of God. May we have faith in the love of Jesus and be open to hearing his voice.
On this ANZAC day, we are reminded of the many soldiers that have laid down their lives for the freedom of others. These service men and women, who have been willing to lay down their lives to allow others to prosper and be free, represent a model of sacrifice that Jesus showcased for us all.
Giving of one’s life can in one sense mean the physical act of dying, but it may also mean living a life of service. Perhaps a life of service to others, service to one’s community, service to one’s country or service to God.
We all can place ourselves in the shoes of the good shepherd – the model leader – to be a voice and an ear to those whom we connect with.
As Jesus says later in the gospel of John, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Pray that we might all find self-actualisation in the perfect love of God and share this love as leaders of our own faith.
Lest we forget.